Sign in to follow this  
Blackstar

What's going on with Crossmen?

Recommended Posts

I've been a critic of Guidry's stuff for drum corps. I've echoed statements of others - impressed with his HS stuff, not impressed with his Xmen stuff. I mostly like this year's show, but I can understand the criticism he still gets.

However, I think it's short-sighted for someone to suggest "they're in 17th, they should get rid of Guidry." It appears the Xmen are not competitive in all areas - firing Guidry isn't necessarily going to change that. Don't confuse placement and personal taste. For what it's worth, with respect to my musical taste and BD's brass arrangements, I would've fired Wayne Downey several years ago. This, of course, would have been stupid. I just don't like what BD is doing musically these days.

Also, after chatting with Guidry a little last night in the drum corps chat room, he seems pretty down to earth. If you have criticisms, I'm sure he would listen to them.

I think Guidry's stuff the way *he* arranges it is really, really good. But somewhere between his arrangement and what ends up on the field, too much is lost. He explained the process in some detail in the AIM chat but (understandably) did not explain where *he* thought those things were dropping out. He does *not* arrange for a brass line -- he arranges the score for a "marching show" and it gets translated by another arranger into parts for the field. And of course the tour staff needs to make *that* arrangement come to life.

There's nothing wrong with the product Reagan or BA puts on the field -- its just the drum corps product that seems to fall short. Up until this season, it seemed to me that the performer was not up to the book. This year it seems that the performer *is* up to the book. So I guess we'll have to just wait and see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's interesting that you mention Crown as an example. Yet, the reasons for their meteoric rise are not an accident. They assembled a stellar staff, who not only laid out how to get things done, but provided the VEHICLE for success. Do you think they would be where they are without Mike Klesch's arrangements? Without Donnie VanDoren and the rest of their brass team providing methods for success? Crown's rise has been to developing a program of playing great musical arrangements well, and then working in the rest of the pieces. That complex, yet that simple. The Crossmen have had the opportunity to choose a new brass arranger....yet have remained loyal to an arranger not getting it doen....they have not addressed this, which has been the most glaring area of concern for years now, and the result is obvious.

GB

Sounds like you have an as-of-yet-unspoken axe to grind here with either Mr Guidry himself or Mr Chambers for deciding to give him another crack as arranger for this year's show. The fact is, they didn't bring him back out of blind loyalty. There's more to it than that. They assembled a design team this year and brought in a show designer who has had a successful track record with Mr Guidry that previous design teams did not have. They're giving it a shot and seeing if they can work together and make something happen. Maybe they make a change next year, maybe they don't. But there's a lot of background information I'm missing from you and your comments that make me question the real motivation behind much of what you say. That's just my initial gut reaction to what I'm reading.

As for Crown, yes they are a shining example of what can be done when you reorganize and find all the right pieces at the right time. Only, they are more the exception rather than the rule. As I said, if it were an exact science, more corps would be able to figure it out. For most corps, you have to piece it together one little bit here, then another bit a year later, then maybe fill in some gaps two years after that, while trying to stay on a path that brings you more success slowly and incrementally.

Edited by CrossmenAlumni

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not familiar with the history here. There appears to be some people that really aren't past the move to Texas (Cowboy Country).

Following them this season and watching last night it appears they made a major step forward with this performance. I enjoyed the show so much more. It was more intersting visually and musically I heard specific parts of the music that just hadn't come through before. There were mellophone parts that cleaned up for instance that really added alot to the music. The trumpets hit some licks that were just dirty before. The crowd also reacted much better than the Michigan show. (Saw both on FN)

My son is marching with them this year. It is his rookie year. They are having to "grow up" some members this year. He was telling me about rehearsals before Minnessota show and they did some things different to get the focus going and put in the changes. My son told me after they performed last night that they were very excited about their performance and staff liked what they saw except for an area in the closer. Basically they saw the hard work of the previous three days pay off with more energy, better playing, and better marching. They have some momentum but too bad they didn't get scores to be able to gauge progress in that regard.

All this to say I agree and appreciate what some Xmen alumni have said in the thread about the group changing and tyring to find themselves. Sometimes alot of work happens before progress is made and you must fail first to reach a tipping point to succeed. We'll see in the next few shows if the tide is turning and the 2010 verson is growing up to show much improvement. I do think based on what I have seen they will be in Semis. To get to Saturday will be much tougher. I'll be there for Semis and Finals either way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for stating this. I agree with much of what you said. It's generally accepted that making it into the top 12 these days is more about how well you perform your show rather than what you perform. They're very inconsistent performers right now, as to be expected with so many new and young members. Also, you are dead on about Aaron Guidry listening to and appreciating feedback, good and bad. He knows what the criticisms are, and from what I know about him, he cares very deeply about the Crossmen and giving them a great product. He has also been very receptive to having experienced drum corps programmers and designers help him address those issues and get better at what he does. He's an easy target for the critics, and a popular target (it seems) for many DCP folk. I suggest they actually try and talk to the guy. I think they may be surprised at how accessible he can be.

Mr. Guidry has had not one or two, but several years of opportunity at the Crossmen, but his arrangements have not flown well. Sorry, but many of us still believe a great show is CENTERED around great musical arrangements. And I disagree, the WHAT is just as important as the HOW. I actually think the Crossmen will be ok with how they perform their product by Indy. It's the WHAT.....THE MUSICAL ARRANGEMENTS, that is glaring. These arrangements have been fair at best. It's not personal, it's professional. Some people write great arrangements (ie Jim Prime, Mike Klesch, Larry Kerchner, etc.) nearly all of the time. If Mr. Guidry truly wants to improve his craft, he should study the works of those people, and then get some experience writing at the open level before attempting to return to world class, or stick with the band realm, which seems to fit him better. Look at what Madison has done in one year by going to great arrangers, a solid visual design team, and good teachers?? It's not an accident. It is not fair to the membership for the musical product itself to be substandard in arrangement quality, year after year.

GB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sounds like you have an as-of-yet-unspoken axe to grind here with either Mr Guidry himself or Mr Chambers for deciding to give him another crack as arranger for this year's show. The fact is, they didn't bring him back out of blind loyalty. There's more to it than that. They assembled a design team this year and brought in a show designer who has had a successful track record with Mr Guidry that previous design teams did not have. They're giving it a shot and seeing if they can work together and make something happen. Maybe they make a change next year, maybe they don't. But there's a lot of background information I'm missing from you and your comments that make me question the real motivation behind much of what you say. That's just my initial gut reaction to what I'm reading.

As for Crown, yes they are a shining example of what can be done when you reorganize and find all the right pieces at the right time. Only, they are more the exception rather than the rule. As I said, if it were an exact science, more corps would be able to figure it out. For most corps, you have to piece it together one little bit here, then another bit a year later, then maybe fill in some gaps two years after that, while trying to stay on a path that brings you more success slowly and incrementally.

I don't have an ax to grind. You can like somebody personally and yet maybe their work is a "C-/D+". If the show is built from the design team assembled this year......all I can say, is that the arranged music doesn't work. In terms of them "giving Mr. Guidry another crack" this year......how many chances does he get....that's all that I am asking. It's been long.

You state Crown as an "exception" to putting the pieces together??

How about Madison this year? How about the Blue Stars? How about the Blue Knights? It seems that others, and more than one, are getting it done.........

If you message me privately, I'll discuss some things with you that I won't do in a public forum.....

GB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And I disagree, the WHAT is just as important as the HOW.

When you're a solid finalist corps or gunning for a championship, I would agree. But you can't get into that conversation until you can march well, spin well, play well, drum well, and play in time together. They're just too inconsistent right now in just about every area of the game. We'll see how it shakes out in a month.

Blue Stars? Blue Knights? Crown? Madison? Some advanced quicker than others. Some built pieces here, added some pieces later, some are doing well but still will be looking to address certain needs in the next year or two, which is what I've been saying. You're basically putting the Crossmen at YEAR ONE of their current design team coming off a horrendous season against corps that, for the most part aside from Madison, have been building and building and tweaking and adjusting for YEARS from where they started from on their current developmental journey. I can't state it enough: these things take time, and the developmental journey the corps is on right now will be changing and adjusting as the next few years roll on. Maybe Guidry is a part of that process, maybe he's not. I'm willing to see how certain things play out. But one thing I know the Crossmen need to do to help their chances--- march better, play better, spin better, and drum better, period.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Remember when Blue Devils did really good playing jazz ?? Remember when Crossmen did really good playing Jazz ?? Silly argument, no logic.

G

I didn't say anything about placements. Yea I'm keeping tally of who's getting what and rooting for corps to be at certain spots. I'm talking about entertaining. Thats why I go to shows, to be entertained. Jazz just comes off as cheezy, its just a personal taste. When some corps did it, it worked. I'm just tired of people referencing new years to old ones, just let it go already thats why they sell dvds. It just wouldn't have the same effect now.

That's a bit too simplistic a take on it, I think. Jazz can be very exciting in drum corps if done properly. And there's the rub. It's VERY hard to pull off, and that's one of the big reasons why a lot of corps stay away from building an entire show around it programmatically these days. Even the Blue Devils. They pick and choose their spots to go all out with it, and when they do, it's usually some of the best and most exciting stuff on the field.

Well said.

If I could rephrase what I said, and change boring to cheezy, I'm not saying it all is, just my personal taste.

I mean I loved BD 03. I think I'm just caught up with everything thats going on, everybody always trying to push the envelope, I'm just waiting for the next new thing...not in terms of gimmicks, but musically.

...and it could be a combination of when in high school and college everything that was chosen to play was some sort of latin jazz, I'm just over it.

Edited by southtxbones

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anybody here know why Crossmen here in late July appear to be going out with between 6-8 holes ? In an age of lots of Corps holes, this does seem like an even larger number of holes that one would expect. What's up with this ?

Edited by BRASSO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
When you're a solid finalist corps or gunning for a championship, I would agree. But you can't get into that conversation until you can march well, spin well, play well, drum well, and play in time together. They're just too inconsistent right now in just about every area of the game. We'll see how it shakes out in a month.

Blue Stars? Blue Knights? Crown? Madison? Some advanced quicker than others. Some built pieces here, added some pieces later, some are doing well but still will be looking to address certain needs in the next year or two, which is what I've been saying. You're basically putting the Crossmen at YEAR ONE of their current design team coming off a horrendous season against corps that, for the most part aside from Madison, have been building and building and tweaking and adjusting for YEARS from where they started from on their current developmental journey. I can't state it enough: these things take time, and the developmental journey the corps is on right now will be changing and adjusting as the next few years roll on. Maybe Guidry is a part of that process, maybe he's not. I'm willing to see how certain things play out. But one thing I know the Crossmen need to do to help their chances--- march better, play better, spin better, and drum better, period.

I believe this is year 5 (not year one) for Mr. Guidry. Again, in my personal opinion, the musical arrangements (and thus the brass arranger) is the most important element of a drum corps show. If this is substandard, it doesn't really matter who the other members of the team are, as everything is built around a good musical program. Yes a staff might take a few years to jell completely. But it does not take 5 seasons to determine an arranger's talent......if music was strong for the Bones and visual or percussion was not, I wouldn't be talking about the arrangements. Yes, you might go up a notch or two if you have a great guard, great drumline, or great drill.....(Glassmen are a perfect example of this.....they also have arrangement problems, but their drumline and guard/visual are pretty good, so they squeak by....yet they might not this year.......) I agree that a corps needs to work hard to execute as well as possible, but that is not the main issue with the Crossmen this year.....in fact, at the show I was at, I felt they outperformed Spirit....(Chambersburg)...it was close...by a tenth.........

A great musical arranger can put a corps back on track in a hurry. It will be in the Crossmen's hands to determine if they are ready to change.

GB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anybody here know why Crossmen here in late July appear to be going out with between 6-8 holes ? In an age of lots of Corps holes, this does seem like an even larger number of holes that one would expect. What's up with this ?

A combination of a lot of things. It was not the best winter in terms of recruiting and they've had problems filling those last few spots as far back as spring training. When I saw them back in June, they had people working into those spots, and some of them just didn't pan out and quit. Then other kids got injured and more holes opened up. It happens. I don't know if they have people for some of those spots right now and they're just not all the way through the show yet, but I know from experience that jumping into a spot mid-tour can be one of the most stressful and least enjoyable experiences for both the member trying to learn the show and the staff who has to get him in there. When I had to get a kid through the show like that when I was on staff, we often had kids come in, learn part of the show, decide it wasn't for them and quit. And this was when the corps was a solid finalist. It's a difficult process and can be very frustrating for everyone involved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.